Alright, so I got an English oral exam coming up, and I picked the theme ''Mysteries, phenomena and ghost stories''. I then chose to do a presentation about serial killers, those who's identities was never found, so I picked the 2 most interesting and probably most well known, Jack The Ripper and The Zodiac Killer, but that's besides the point. My question is about Jack The Ripper who has killed 5 confirmed victims, who are called ''The Canonical Five'', which I don't understand what it means, and that's my questions, can you give a simple explanation about the definition of it? Thanks in advance.
Basically they're using "Cononical" to mean the "official" or "accepted" five victims of Jack the Ripper. I think it's a complete misuse of the word because it's usually used in relation to religious canons. Also, we've known since 1888 that these five women were the victims of Jack the Ripper. Why they chose at this late in the game to start referring to them as The Cononical Five is beyond me.
A canon merely means a recognised part of a body of work. For example, an episode of Star Trek is canonical to the series, but if someone writes a fan fiction episode is that then canonical? (i.e. did it really happen in the Star Trek universe even though we accept that universe is just fantasy?) Generally not, as it is not accepted by the majority of significant parties, such as the creators of the original series.
Author Martin Fido dubbed the phrase C5, or canonical 5, based on the quote from Sir Melville MacNaughton, who actually didn't come to the case until a year after the last canonical victim, Mary Kelly. The original Ripper file had many other potential victims in it, but MacNaughton was quoted as saying only five were by the same hand. These five are the ones referred to be Fido as the C5 in 1988.
However, strictly speaking, MacNaughton probably knew less about the case than he thought. Modern Ripperologists would say that there is some doubt that Liz Stride was a Ripper victim, and some scope for saying that Annie Millwood, Martha Tabram, and Ada Wilson might have been victims, though most agree Mary Kelly was probably the last. The for and against for each victim is too lengthy to go into here.
MacNaughton was however closer to the case than modern amateur sleuths. He favoured Montague Druitt as the suspect, but again, most modern day analysts disagree with this and, although he said he was given private information from Druitt's own family that led him to this conclusion, he got several key facts about Druitt wrong, which you wouldn't expect from his own family!